This chapter reflects broadly on the concepts of sovereignty, democracy, and public philosophy animating Judith Butler’s recent writing, focusing on her reading of the 2011 protests to remove Eqyptian President Hosni Mubarak from office. For Butler, solidarity among the protestors originated in the shared experience of bodily vulnerability as they tried to hold Tahrir Square. The chapter suggests that Butler overstates the significance of bodily assembly. She overlooks the role that interfaith acts of cooperation played in bridging the mistrust across sectarian and religious/secular divisions sewn by Mubarak during his long rule. It focuses on how the Friday Islamic congregational prayer and Sunday Mass animated passive forms of solidarity and inspired courage among Egyptians. Butler’s interest in identifying radical democracy with practices of mutual vulnerability and recognition cause her to neglect the protestors’ demands for democratic rule that included constitutional reforms to protect the gains of the revolution.
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